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AD is fulfilling a childhood dream


K.T. Emerson is named athletic director at Milwaukie, while Jesse Eveland returns to his alma mater

by: JOHN DENNY - Milwaukie Athletic Director K.T. EmersonK.T. Emerson, 35, an educator in the Lake Oswego School District for the past 13 years, has been named athletic director at Milwaukie High School, replacing Jesse Eveland.

Eveland, 35, who became Milwaukie’s athletic director in 2011, has taken the same position at Rex Putnam High School, replacing retiring athletic director Daniel Barendse. A 1997 graduate of Putnam, Eveland has returned to his alma mater.

“It’s been my absolute dream to be athletic director since I was 16 years old,” Emerson says. “I came from a big high school in Southern California and I was always amazed at how our administrators knew everybody’s names and what we did outside athletics. My athletic director engaged with us as athletes and students, and encouraged us to pursue our dreams.”

Emerson attended Capistrano Valley High School in South Orange County, Calif., where she excelled in volleyball.

“We had 12 seniors on the team and 11 played Division I,” Emerson said.

Emerson excelled for her high school team as a middle blocker. Her senior year she was a first-team all-league player on a Capistrano Valley team that placed fourth in the California big-school state championships and she was selected to the Orange County All-Star Team. She was Capistrano Valley volleyball team captain and most inspirational play her junior and senior seasons.

Emerson says that, in high school, she played against Olympians Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings.

Emerson received a full-ride scholarship to play volleyball at the University of Portland, playing both outside hitter and — after an injury — defensive specialist. Her senior year she was named team captain.

Emerson received a degree in elementary education from the University of Portland in 2001, and a masters degree in 2009. She earned her administrative certification last spring.

Emerson has taught elementary education in Lake Oswego for the past 13 years. For the last four years she’s been a kindergarten teacher at Oak Creek Elementary, where she started the full-day kindergarden program in 2010.

She’s coached club and high school volleyball since 2001. She helped start the Athena Volleyball Club in Beaverton in 2003 and she has been involved with the club as a coach for most of the past 13 seasons, coaching mostly 18’s teams.

Emerson was head volleyball coach at Lake Oswego High School from 2004 to 2008 and she’s been a varsity assistant in the high school volleyball program at Lake Oswego for the past five seasons.

“When I came to Lake Oswego the [high school volleyball program] was near the bottom of the league,” Emerson says. “We’ve turned things around. Four year’s ago we were top 16 in the state, last year we were top 10, and the year before that we were top eight.”

Emerson says that hosting clinics, camps and open gyms, and getting involved with youth before high school were keys to the turnaround, and she believes the same thing can help turn struggling sports programs around at Milwaukie.

Emerson says she sought out the administrative position at Milwaukie because of the school’s emphasis on and success at addressing the whole student.

“Milwaukie’s had so much growth,” Emerson said. “Test scores are rising, graduation rates are up and the school’s been winning awards for focussing on the whole child. I want to be a part of that, encouraging students to realize their dreams and helping them find success.”

Emerson lives in Beaverton with her husband Jesse, a civil engineer, and their children Adeline, 7, and William, 4. She says she’s talked with her husband about moving closer to Milwaukie, perhaps in another year.

“I’m here for the long haul,” she says.

When hired at Milwaukie, Eveland said, ““Loyalty is big for me, and Putnam will always have a special place in my heart. But our assistant superintendent gave me some good advice. She said, ‘You have to root for where your paycheck comes from.’

“I’ll never forget about my roots or look down on Putnam. But I’m definitely a Mustang now.”

Eveland is back wearing the green and gold colors of his alma mater and rooting for the Kingsmen.

Eveland went to work at Putnam after graduating from Concordia. He taught special education behavior management classes, math, and health, while also serving as assistant coach in baseball for six seasons.

He worked in Putnam’s student management office for three years, and he served as an assistant to athletic director Daniel Barendse for two years, before becoming athletic director at Milwaukie.